The Other McCain

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Cause and Effect: Cultural Decadence

Posted on | October 23, 2018 | 1 Comment


One of the Bad Ideas of recent years that bothers me most — because it is both widely believed among the elite and easily demonstrable as wrong — is Richard Florida’s theory of the “Creative Class”:

While I was in Massachusetts last fall for a book event hosted by Pete Da Tech Guy, we visited a Mexican restaurant in Worcester, a somewhat run-down city that was once a major manufacturing center. Picking up the local free alternative weekly Worcester Magazine, I was thumbing through it and noticed an ad proclaiming the city’s enthusiastic devotion to LGBT rights.
I doubt that anyone in America, asked to name a city notable for its vibrant homosexual community, would name Worcester, Mass., off the top of their head, but it was obvious the local Chamber of Commerce had bought into Richard Florida’s analysis, which uses “a gay index (ranking cities by the concentration of gay couples in the population)” as one metric of urban growth potential within his “creative class” theory . . .

The problem is that this is a reversal of cause and effect. Prosperity attracts artists and intellectuals to a city, but they are not the ones who create the basis of prosperity. Ancient Athens was famed for its architecture and philosophy, but its prosperity was due to the success of the Athenians in commerce and in war. Through the Aegean port of Piraeus, the ancient Athenians developed a vast merchant empire, establishing colonies throughout the region, as far as modern-day Turkey and Italy, and the wealth obtained by trade enabled the Athenians to equip a powerful army and navy. The Athenians were an adventurous, enterprising and warlike people, and it was these qualities that made their city wealthy, thus attracting the artists and philosophers. Richard Florida’s “creative class” theory gets this causation exactly backwards, confusing certain traits of wealthy places (especially tolerance of homosexuality) as the reason those places became wealthy.

The kind of thinking that produces those “Worcester Pride” ads — the idea that advertising their pro-LGBT sentiments will revive their rundown industrial city — is a cargo-cult mentality. What called this to mind was the report by a traveler to Sweden in September:

You’d think, walking around Stockholm (as I recently did), that Sweden’s national flag is rainbow gay. After all, it’s more ubiquitous here right now than the Scandinavian nation’s own beautiful emblem (a bold yellow cross on a royal blue field). Everywhere you look you see the queer colors: as a pennant on top of a hotel, a sign in front of a restaurant, and even flapping as ensigns from the ships in the harbor. The waitresses are sporting the colors on their suspenders, and the waiters have rainbow ties. Rainbow sunglasses, socks, and decals abound. Why, you ask, is Stockholm afflicted with such a bad case of homophilia these days?
Why, money, of course. The Nordic capital is hosting some kind of homosexual convention, and the flags are meant to show how “gay friendly” the city is. . . .
Gay pride marches, parades, festivals, and such advertise the power of the homosexual lobby to governments and institutions that are already predisposed to be sympathetic to them. They also serve to normalize such displays in the national consciousness so that future generations will be inured to such grotesquery.

You can read the rest of that. All this rainbow-pride celebration of gay life in Sweden obscures, but cannot completely conceal, the profound demographic crisis in Sweden, where 17 percent of the population is foreign-born, and three of the top five countries of origin are Iraq, Syria and Iran. Sweden is also home to many tens of thousands of immigrants from Somalia, Turkey and Afghanistan. With what result?

Gang-related gun murders, now mainly a phenomenon among men with immigrant backgrounds in the country’s parallel societies, increased from 4 per year in the early 1990s to around 40 last year. Because of this, Sweden has gone from being a low-crime country to having homicide rates significantly above the Western European average. Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon.

Let’s talk cause-and-effect in a way that Richard Florida’s “creative class” theory ignores: Population growth is correlated with economic growth. A community that becomes more prosperous will attract new residents, but what happens if conditions of prosperity lead to a declining birth rate among the people who actually created this prosperity? And what if the new arrivals can’t sustain this prosperity? This is by no means an uncommon phenomenon in history. The decline of the Roman Empire was correlated with (if not caused by) decadence and luxury among the Roman upper classes, as the empire became increasingly dependent on foreign-born soldiers to man the imperial legions.

Swedes are finally waking up to their demographic problem:

Sweden held general parliamentary elections [Sept. 9], and preliminary results confirmed a big change in the political landscape from liberal ideals toward a more nationalist, populist agenda.
The Social Democratic party, Sweden’s largest party whose ideals have dominated Swedish politics for most of the last 100 years, got their weakest result since 1908. . . .
The biggest winner of this election were the Sweden Democrats, a populist party whose program has a strong focus on nationalism and social conservatism. They have been able to rally people who fear immigrant crime and oppose a change in the national fabric of Swedish society. . . .
The rise of Sweden Democrats has not been obvious to the establishment; otherwise, the phenomenon would have been taken more seriously. After all, the rise of populist parties is old news in Europe. There is one crucial difference with Sweden: Populism is rising despite of strong economic performance and good employment. . . .
According to the most recent official survey from 2005, foreign-born Swedes are more than twice as likely to be suspects in criminal investigations.

The thing is, as the population of Muslim immigrants grows, Sweden’s tolerance toward homosexuality is endangered, because the new immigrants come from notoriously intolerant cultures.

Liberals have tut-tutted the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, but whose fault is this phenomenon? Isn’t it true that the European elite have created this problem by encouraging cultural decadence? “If you don’t want the Third Reich, don’t welcome the Weimar Republic.”






One Response to “Cause and Effect: Cultural Decadence”

  1. Let's Review 132: From Bukowski to Bolsonaro - American Digest
    October 30th, 2018 @ 11:59 am

    […] Liberals have tut-tutted the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, but whose fault is this phenomen…    Isn’t it true that the European elite have created this problem by encouraging cultural decadence? “If you don’t want the Third Reich, don’t welcome the Weimar Republic.” […]